Katrina Roberts has published four books: Underdog; Friendly Fire; The Quick; and How Late Desire Looks.  She teaches at Whitman College.  She and her husband, Jeremy Barker, own and operate the Walla Walla Distilling Company, in Washington State, where they live on a farm with their three children.

On Libations: “The process of crafting Gin from local fruit and grain is especially satisfying: small batch distillation allows me to experiment with a wild range of botanicals we grow and procure here in the Pacific Northwest; the fun is interlacing varied individual essences to create singular distinctive spirits.”

Katrina Roberts


Morning’s limpid wash does nothing

to rinse my peerless soul, ululant

and queer, un-owned, my one whip-

lashing tail, switch-wagging to flaunt

this bile of burrs and dreaded-

mats, the clot and bloody smear of

me, quick-chopped by your

mower’s wide-toothed maw. If

you hurt me, aren’t I yours? Stars wheel

then recede, bloom anew I note,

I notice things, no novice to raw

scrutiny, what sticks, what fades,

rhizomes, radicles, bits of

heady coagulate on a step, mites

threading an ashen vole’s coat, flees nip-

swelling to fan the fire-itch, maggots

ghost-writhing to make an owl

lift to life beneath an elm. I flex

my pile paws, sink knife-

points into a dusty tangle of dirt-skin

and punch-weed, always open-eyed

under boas of cloud trailing like taunts: 

where’s some small purchase for me, or

at least desire’s end? A dish

of something wet, maybe warm. A fixed

moment in this unbroken chain of

untethered day-to-day roaming,

a circuit’s pulse, goading me back to slink

clothed as I am in shadow, an oil-

slick pooling below your splintery

benches. You Scat me, you toss

verbs into the face of lightening hours

beyond sturdy walls, fierce

with every pestilent fear my only-being

breeds in you – for all I want and need,

for every thing in this world you feel

you cannot give… A needle-

eye-sized poppy-seed of keening rips

suddenly from between my bared

teeth, startling even me: How

am I responsible to none

besides myself? How am I not beloved?

Photo by Tom Haydu